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Cumberland County takes steps to help unemployed vets

Posted January 18, 2012

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— Veterans of the military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan put years of their lives on hold to serve the nation. Now, as they try to transition back into civilian life, a record number of them are unable to find work, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Federal data shows 13 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are unemployed, up nearly two percent from this time last year.

Veterans in Fayetteville, which is home to Fort Bragg, one of the nation's largest military installations, are no exception.

But the Cumberland County Employment Security Commission office is giving them priority, moving them to the front of the unemployment line and offering counseling to help them market their military skill set to civilian job opportunities.

"We actually promote our veterans," said Cumberland ESC manager Edith Edmond. "We go out into the community explaining to employers why they should hire veterans. (We) encourage it."

Edmond estimates that more than half of the ESC's clients are veterans. The end of the Iraq War, she added, is fueling the unemployment rate among them.

Jobless veterans get help from Cumberland ESC Jobless veterans in Cumberland County get help

Steven Scibelli joined the Army four years ago to avoid unemployment lines, but now he finds himself standing in them anyway. At 36, he was twice the age of many of his fellow recruits, and decided to enlist when his work as a carpenter began drying up in the recession.

Despite being jobless in an economy that's been slow to recover, Scibelli said his military experience has made him a better candidate.

"What the Army offers you is a lot of life's necessities – being very team-oriented, being goal-oriented, learning how to be on time," he said.

While he continues his search, he enrolled at Fayetteville Technical Community College to study computer forensics.

Alexis Miranda, 38, deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq before leaving the Army Dec. 1. Since that time, he has had one job offer, but he turned it down because it required too much travel.

Miranda wants to be able to spend more time with his 15-year-old daughter, especially after having to spend so much time overseas.

He's not giving up until he finds a job that allows him to focus on fatherhood.

"One thing I can honestly say for all the Armed Forces is their dedication, of not quitting," he said. "I know my qualifications will get me there. I'm going to succeed."

After 20 years as an operations supervisor in the Army, Marshall Fife retired last month, eager to begin a new civilian career.

"We put ourselves out there on the line to go fight for the country," Fife said. "When we come back, we at least want to try to come back in the work force."

But the military is the only career Fife has ever known, making his job search all the more daunting.

"It's all been a wake-up call. Soldiers get ready to retire and get out, they get anxious, they get nervous and a lot of them get scared," he said. "It's been a little exhausting."


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  • gphotohound2 Jan 20, 2012

    I am sorry that some people have not been able to find work but you don't need to save your house, your car , feed your family or anything . If these men and women who volunteeredfor the service who had a job has decided they wanted out you are to just step aside . Crumps brother how many " perks " do you feel you should get , every vet I have ever hired came to work with this mind set I know more than anyone here and they didn't know anything except you owe me . Maybe a little less know all and more what I can learn maybe people wouldn't have hard feeling toward them .

  • josephlawrence43 Jan 19, 2012

    Hey RAL--the thing about illegal aliens and the number of jobs they are holding==jobs that could go to our returning vet will come out--either here--or on the facebook page...your choice..

  • Crumps Br0ther Jan 19, 2012

    I have been laid off as many times under Bush as I have under Obama. And every job I have been hired at, I beleive, has been because I am a veteran. Employers usually put vets above civilians because we're dependable, trainable, team players, flexible, have marketable skills, and do not whine about trivial things that happen day to day in the workplace. I'm sure a lot of you worked hard in college, I know I did, but I had REAL WORLD experience as well, and that put me head and shoulders above my competition when it came time to be hired. I don't know if its fair, but life isn't fair no matter how much you try to legislate it to be.

  • u stand corrected Jan 19, 2012

    Back to the real world the rest of us live in. indrdw>>>
    If you want to know about the "real" world, ask a vet.

  • cableprncss Jan 19, 2012

    "The vets are no different that ther rest of us so why should they be put ahead of the lines. They were not drafted, they joined of their own free will for whatever the reason."

    indrdw, no they weren't drafted, but had they not enlisted of their own free will, there would have been a draft. They are indeed different from everyone else...have you been to an active war zone & taken the chance of dying every minute? If not, then I guess you wouldn't understand how they are different.

  • sunshine1040 Jan 19, 2012

    Just this morning the unemployment numbers were down so finding a job is no problem for some. But then Maybe they could re-up and get all those benefits the recruiters use to promise to all that walked in their office

  • Crumps Br0ther Jan 19, 2012

    The vets are no different that ther rest of us so why should they be put ahead of the lines. They were not drafted, they joined of their own free will for whatever the reason.

    It's called sacrfice and sometimes it gets rewarded with a small perk here and there.

  • Crumps Br0ther Jan 19, 2012

    B-b-but just two weeks ago unemployment numbers were down, the economy was stampedeing back, and all was right with the world. There were people posting that the numbers were a sure sign of great things to come! So what happened?


  • indrdw Jan 19, 2012

    Kind of bad when some people have been taking menial jobs until they can do better or haven't been able to get a job at all after a good deal of time. The vets are no different that ther rest of us so why should they be put ahead of the lines.
    They were not drafted, they joined of their own free will for whatever the reason. We all make our choices and sometimes it the choice is the lesser of two evils in this man's case. Back to the real world the rest of us live in. Looking employment is not easy.

  • Rolling Along Jan 19, 2012

    Double Edged sword...